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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

EOP celebrates their 50th anniversary

Photo by Ricky Labrada
N’Namdi Carter said he would not be able to go to Marquette without EOP.

Marquette University’s Educational Opportunity Program is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Eric Williams, executive director for EOP, said the program has served students historically underrepresented in higher education, such as students from low-income backgrounds and first-generation students, since 1969. 

The development of EOP… helped ensure educational access for students who were – and still are – underrepresented at Marquette and in higher education, in general,” Williams said in an email. “In the spirit of our founding, Marquette continues to strive to be a welcoming, inclusive place that is open to people from all backgrounds, faiths and viewpoints.”

EOP was established in response to the civil rights movement, Williams said. It began under the leadership of Arnold Mitchem, who went on to serve as the president of the Council for Opportunity in Education. The program started with 40 students and one staff member, Williams said.

EOP currently serves 1,047 students through its five programs. It has had more than 10,000 students go through its programs. 

The five programs are Student Support Services, McNair Scholars, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Educational Talent Search.

SSS is the original program that was established in 1969, and it is what most people associate with EOP, Williams said.

SSS and McNair Scholars provide programs for current Marquette students, while the other three programs are in the pre-college division.

All programs within EOP are designed to provide preparation, access and transitional assistance to students,” Williams said in an email.

The pre-college programs partner with Milwaukee Public Schools to provide resources such as tutoring and academic workshops, Williams said. The college programs work with current Marquette undergraduate students to provide services to help students in their transition into Marquette and eventual graduation, he said.

In University President Michael Lovell’s 2019 presidential address, Lovell charged a steering committee with putting together a yearlong celebration for EOP.

The steering committee consists of Rana Altenburg, vice president for public affairs; Maureen Hoyler, president of the Council for Opportunity and Education; John Su, vice provost for academic affairs; and William Welburn, vice president for inclusive excellence.

There are plans for events that highlight EOP’s long and distinguished past and the work the program does today, Williams said.

“This will be a campus and community-wide celebration that will reflect the energy, enthusiasm and momentum of EOP and help educate the campus community on the history and importance of EOP at Marquette,” Williams said in an email.

EOP is excited to celebrate this milestone and looks forward to celebrating a multitude of events throughout 2019, Williams said. The events and dates of events have not been determined yet. 

N’Namdi Carter, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he would not be able to go to Marquette without help from EOP.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford it,” Carter said. “I wouldn’t be able to make a good standing, grade wise.”

Carter said he feels EOP is trying to break the cycle of people being unable to go to college.

Evelia Guerrero, a sophomore in the College of Nursing and student in EOP, said the program has provided her resources to navigate college as a first-generation Latina student. 

“EOP has provided me with the opportunity to create long-lasting relationships with my peers, get ahead in my academic track, receive personalized tutoring and take part in a mentorship program,” Guerrero said in an email. “To me, EOP is a group of committed counselors and students who are invested in each other’s success inside and outside of the classroom.”

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About the Contributor
Annie Mattea is the Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune. She is a junior from Grayslake, Illinois and is majoring in journalism with a minor in digital media and political science. She has reported at length on the demonstration policy, COVID-19, and numerous other on campus issues.

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